The Redeemer and the Resurrection

Introduction

Maybe the Sadducees thought that they would have greater success in outwitting Jesus with puzzling questions. The Sadducees did not believe that there would be a resurrection; therefore there could be no life after death or judgement, angels or demons. Because of this they were worldly-minded and legalistic. In Jerusalem they dominated the Sanhedrin and controlled the Temple until its destruction in 70 A.D. They were noted for their extremism, “The behaviour of the Sadducees towards another is in some degree wild, and their conversation with those that are of their own party is as barbarous as if they were strangers to them” (Flavius Josephus, Jewish Wars [2.166]).

The incident

“Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife” (Mark 12:18-23).

The Sadducees come to Jesus with a story, which is probably not historically true. The woman of their riddle outlived seven husbands, so whose wife would she be when the dead are raised?

Those who are determined to reject the Bible as the word of God always speak of its so-called contradictions. The vast majority of them never bother to read the Scriptures for themselves, so simply parrot what they have heard from others. They think that their hard questions will put us to shame! Instead of arguing with those who have preconceived ideas about the Bible, we should present the plain facts and evidences of Christianity. We must believe that each person has a conscience that can be appealed to, and so petition them to read the Scriptures for themselves before coming to biased conclusions. Many hardened atheists and evolutionists have done this, and have come to saving grace.

The ignorance

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24).

All unbelief finds its root in ignorance of what Scripture teaches. Josiah’s reformation only came about because God’s word was rediscovered. The world entered the Dark Ages the moment the Scriptures were forbidden to be read by the common people, but once the Bible was translated and circulated, its light penetrated hearts. The nations that have enjoyed the rich blessings of God are those who have honoured His word. This holds true for individuals, families and churches.

We must be careful about being ignorant about what the Bible teaches; otherwise we will fall into deadly error. Let us be determined to make it our rule in all things pertaining to faith and practice. Let us labour to spread the word of God far and wide. We must endeavour to teach it to our children, family and friends. The best thing we can do for anyone is to make him or her aware of what God says.

The instruction

“For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err” (Mark 12:25-27).

The Sadducees honoured and claimed to live by the teachings of Moses, yet they failed to see that the God, who spoke to him from the burning bush, was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even though they were a long time dead. The God we serve is not the God of the dead but of the living.

Only a fool rejects what the Bible teaches about life beyond the grave. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The Sadducees, if they ever studied the Scriptures, ought to have known better. Throughout the Bible we read that those who die in the faith are raised to everlasting life in Heaven, while those who die in sin are raised to everlasting death in Hell. The false religions of this world have a hard time accepting these truths. The Roman Catholic hopes for Purgatory, the Muslim only looks forward to a perverted and sensual paradise, and the Hindu believes in the notion of reincarnation.

Though Scripture does not describe in full what our eternal existence will be like, we know it must be wonderful. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10) …“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4) … “I In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3). We will enjoy the full presence the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as those who have gone before us. There is no need of marriage or other human relationships in Heaven.

For now we groan, “being burdened” with our daily sense of weakness and imperfection (2 Corinthians 5:4). In the world to come, all of this will be changed. There will be nothing to diminish our eternal joy. Before that great day comes, we must be certain that we are truly born again and destined for the “resurrection of life” rather than “the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:29). Can we say with Job, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). Death takes us into the very presence of God, “Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Conclusion

Religious men and atheists alike love their riddles, especially when they think that they can destroy our faith in Christ with them. It is our duty to learn what Scripture teaches so that we will have a ready answer for those who oppose the truth. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:15-16). “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

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